how dare you question authority even if it’s wrong

I’m not sure this letter is real but I’ve seen it before and It gets me riled up every time. Even if it’s not real I still know it happens. This is completely believable. I know first hand!

This is exactly the attitude I constantly encountered in the many schools I’ve attended, churches I’ve served and ministries I’ve worked for. I also get this kind of sass from some people whose theology I question.

I believe it is important to know who’s wrong and who’s right on certain issues. I happen to think truth is important. But when push came to shove, I began to discover that who’s right and who’s wrong is not the most important issue. The most important issue is the unquestioning respect for authority.

You know what it’s like to raise questions with those in authority. Even harmless questions. What receives the greatest attention is not the question itself but the fact that you asked it.

What’s more serious: the blatant disregard for authority or the blatant disregard for truth?

I know you’ve experienced this. Right?

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://www.lucysreality.com Lucy

    I had a slightly different take,not exactly for the teacher but not exactly for the student. Sometimes, I think you need a third party to help be the voice of reason. We seem to lack that anymore. Everyone seems so polarized. Don’t know if you have time but here is my take: Lucy’s Reality

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    Interesting take Lucy. thanks for sharing your link. We have no idea what actually happened in the classroom. I have friends who are teachers and they would sympathize with your post. I also have friends who are parents of students, as we were. The attitude expressed in the letter itself is the issue I was raising. It’s just wrong. But you’re right… I would not want to be a teacher in many classrooms today. But then again I wouldn’t want to be a student either. :)

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jonbirch

    oh man… that’s my childhood there in that letter. a fascist view on the role of teacher from the teacher and a cheeky, bored schoolboy… a dynamite combo. aah, the memories. :-)

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    I know jonbirch. I have my own stories. And then my kids. Hilarious now but not at the time.

  • Kris

    Not being able to question authority is what allows abuse to flourish.

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    i agree Kris!

  • http://faithandreasontogether.blogspot.ca/ FT

    That attitude from the teacher is plain bullyism. I cannot stand for any kind of bullies whatsoever (religious,secular, corporate, parental or otherwise). Those who want to remain passive are mere supporters of tyrants. Period.

  • Carol

    The common denominator in all dysfunctional relationships is a disordered need for power.

    It is so frustrating to try to reason with people whose unspoken issue is always “Who’s the boss?” instead of “What is the best way to solve this?” They are usually the same people who are more concerned with “Who did it?” instead of “How do we fix it?”

    The tragedy is not just that individuals are damaged, but that such attitudes make community impossible.

    Lucy has a point, how we challenge is as important as taking a stand against misinformation. A respectful challenge is more likely to evoke a respectful response. The student was wrong, the teacher did not “lie,” he presented misinformation. There is a big difference between respectful correction and an ad hominem attack.

  • Meg

    I am a teacher and I have been wrong a couple of times, ha ha. You have to have a sense of humor and respect your students ( no matter what their age) , then they will respect you. I always make a joke of it. Like I was just testing you well done for picking that up. My students know I am not a great speller and that’s ok. I use that to teach that it’s healthy to recognise you strengths and weaknesses, then you can work on them. Some of my students are better at maths than I am and I give them credit for that. We are not perfect and they see I am comfortable to make mistakes and that’s gives them freedom to make some to.

  • Meg

    And I love teaching the cheeky kids once you them on bored you are half way there.

  • Meg

    Oh my goodness ….once you have them on board.


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